You may already know that compost is the most valuable addition to any garden. You may also know that compost changes soil structure in the very best ways, converting your average garden soil into one that’s friable and fertile.
Finished compost adds nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, making soil nutritionally rich. It acts as a pH buffer by bringing the pH to a neutral level (a middle ground between acidic and alkaline). Compost also saves you time and money since it dramatically increases soil’s water-holding capability. Water run-off is reduced, diseases are suppressed, and a healthy wildlife environment is created all thanks to compost.
The best way to get compost into your garden is to make it yourself at home. Lucky for us, the transformation of organic matter into this rich nutrient source is uncomplicated and inexpensive, and it doesn’t even smell.
One of the first things to address is whether to use a fully enclosed compost bin. Many people are surprised to learn that a specific “bin” isn’t necessary to the composting process, although it has its upsides.
If you’re interested in using an enclosed bin (complete with lid) as opposed to the open ground, several pre-constructed models are available at local garden supply and home improvement centers. If you happen to be even the slightest bit handy, it’s easy to create a semi-bin at home using wood pallets or even hardware cloth that’s been wrapped around four T-posts (note that neither of these options include a lid).
On the other hand, I have several “open” compost piles that I’ve built directly onto the ground, which is as basic as it gets. I love my open piles because nothing gets in my way when I’m turning them over, and it’s the cheapest way to go (I’m nothing if not a cheap gardener).
Continue reading, Guide to Home Composting Build Your Own Compost Bin or Pile here.
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